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The Geography department at The Portsmouth Academy aspires to stimulate a sense of wonder and interest in our complex and dynamically changing world. Harnessing the Thinking Schools philosophy, geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own personal geography and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet. By developing an understanding of the processes – both human and physical – that shape the world, our aim is to develop independent learners well equipped to tackle the global challenges that face the Earth of their future.
Joining TPA, students will be fully introduced to Geography as a multi-disciplinary subject. Starting with our baseline test to understand the students prior experiences and knowledge of Geography. Students will then go on to investigate the key themes of scale, place and interconnections. They will look at the context of the UK, nationally and globally; from population across the UK in order that they might be able to articulate why Portsmouth is so densly populated, to current affairs as we look at the UK’s place in the EU. Coupled with essential map skills to help them understand their place and their surroundings.
Following on from this introduction, we will embrace the excitement of our raging planet. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Earth, understanding why natural hazards occur, who they affect and what type of long term planning and development are required to protect our growing population. Students will all study aspects of volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis, taking on real life examples and imagining what would happen if they lived in a place affected by them.
The winter chill paves the way for ‘The Big Freeze‘, an opportunity to look at the opportunities and challenges of cold environments. How states like Alaska can develop their economy in such challenging conditions, how modern engineering is needed to beat nature. Students will also look at events closer to home, including the Beast from the East in 2017, how extreme weather and hazards can affect people around the world.
From extreme weather, to extreme misconceptions. Already challenging student ideas about what the weather is really like or what life abroad is ‘really like’, time to turn our attentions to the misconceptions they hold about some of the world’s poorer continents. Africa being a prime example where wealth often goes unnoticed, modern day colonialism is sneaking change across the continent but how many continue to live far below the poverty line. A continent full of extremes and full of misconceptions!
Previous learning about diversity in Africa, the issue of food is global. From food security and obesity, to insecurity and hunger. Students will map the variations of the world, introduced to proportional mapping and continuing to challenge misconceptions on a global, national and local scale. Ultimately asking the question – which is worse, hunger or obesity?
The finale to year 7 moves from food to packaging, plastic in the oceans has been a known issue for years and took David Attenborough one 10min slot to raise the profile to news worthy in 2017. Students will explore the issue of single use plastics, their journey to recycling or the oceans and the impacts on ocean and coastal ecosystems. During this term, students will take an active role in managing plastics at school and in their communities, investigating plastic waste and completing a beach clean as part of their journey.
Tropical rainforests represents one of the largest most influential ecosystems on earth. Students will gain knowledge of its location, purpose, usefulness and relevance in their every day lives. Incorporating graphical skills through climate graphing, persuasive writing with regards to political decision making as well as their own decision making for sustainable futures of locations like the Amazon and Madagascar.
After half term, students will explore our future world to explore how we are adapting for the future. They will explore the challenges facing the natural world in the future including TRF future and sustainability, whilst also exploring the growth of deserts, increase in drought, shrinking ice gaps and rising oceans.
Our changing island home. Many of our students miss the fact the Portsmouth (Portsea) is actually an island. Its change over time has been dramatic and swift and as it moves forward through the 21st Century those changes have to consider so much more. From changes in the natural environment of the previous unit, we will link to the future of Portsmouth by exploring its past. From fortifications and canal networks to modern aircraft carriers and booming economy and growing student population. The future of Portsmouths population is crucial as housing developments are needed, green space is needed and the competition for space continues. Students will be able to look at the current issues facing our city, through our local MP and planners and complete fieldwork investigations to create critical thinkers and decision makers of the future.
From our economic power house of the south, to the economic powerhouse of the east – Made in China will following exploring rapid global development, technological changes and an increasing demand for the overseas workforce. Students will look at China as an NEE and rapidly growing economy, investigate why everything seems to be ‘made in China’ and questioning the ethics of cheap labour, working conditions and supply vs demand of a global market.
With the change of the clocks comes the change in the weather and students will explore how the UK weather develops and is affected by the areas around us. GCSE taster lessons are included here where we will look at Tropical Storms, what ingredients they need, how they affect people and what can be done to manage the risks posed by them. Coming back closer to home, students will complete an enquiry to explore how microclimates develop and affect our island home. The impacts of man made structures, green space and developments on our city and how they affect temperature, weather and lifestyle. Asking the question why is the weather so different in Southsea compared to North End? Followed by where on the school site would be the best locations for solar panels/ wind turbines?
Our summer term ends with a chance to explore ‘Geography in the News‘, a look at current affairs and the news. The ability to pick fact from fiction, to understand the way photographs can be used to portray inaccurate news but ultimately learning how our knowledge of Geography can help us to unpick news stories and understand them more fully. From conflict in war zones to the divided opinions of local people of local, national and global issues such as climate change, business and globalisation. Students will be able to select elements of the news to investigate showing how Geography is a cross-curricular subject providing a wealth of transferable skills to take all students forward in their preferred options.